Harvick discusses his strategy for the Talladega race

KEVIN HARVICK NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed his strategy for this weekend’s race at Talladega, painting the track pink for breast cancer and other topics.

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

YOU WERE HERE AT COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO AND HELPED THEM PAINT ‘DEGA PINK AND YOUR SPONSOR HAS A NEAT PARTNERSHIP GOING ON THROUGH THE MONTH OF OCTOBER SO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT AND THEN COMING BACK TO TALLADEGA: “We came up here a few weeks ago and painted the wall pink at the start/finish line with a bunch of breast cancer survivors. This is a big month to get the word out for breast cancer awareness and our sponsor Rheem we will be running our pink car at Martinsville. I’m sure everybody saw the scarfs with the Young Survival Coalition to help support the awareness as well. It’s been a great month. Obviously it’s a cause that we all want to support to help prevent it.”

THIS RACE MOVES TWO WEEKS LATER INTO THE SCHEDULE NEXT YEAR. WITH THERE BEING LESS TIME TO PERHAPS MAKE UP A BAD START THAT COULD POTENTIALLY HAPPEN AT TALLADEGA IS THAT MORE NERVE RACKING ON THE DRIVERS OR DO YOU JUST KIND OF ASSUME IT IS WHAT IT IS? “I think the later you put this race the more nerve racking it is just for the fact that the closer you get to the end especially if you are in the championship hunt it would definitely become more stressful the further it gets put back. This place is just one of those places where you have a lot of things that are out of your control for me I really enjoy the style of racing and the thinking and the strategy and the things you try to do to put yourself in position to win. It’s just those races where sometimes you wind up on the wrong side of things and you go through spells where you don’t finish races. Then you go through spells where you can miss anything. You just have to have luck on your side to make it all happen.”

CLINT (BOWYER) WAS IN HERE EARLIER TODAY AND TALKED A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THIS IS PROBABLY THE PLACE WHERE YOU PRACTICE LEAST. CAN YOU COMPARE AND CONTRAST WHAT YOU GUYS ARE TRYING TO DO DURING THE COUPLE OF PRACTICES? ARE YOU JUST BASICALLY DOING A LEAK CHECK? “It really is. The thing about it is there is so much time put into these cars. I would say these cars to build right take probably at least twice if not three times the amount of work to build than a normal car, just because you spend so much time on the details because it’s so hard to find the speed in the cars. If you skip 10 things to get it done a little faster you are going to pay for it when you get here. You don’t want to go out and tear the bumpers off your car and everything on the car has been pushed, pulled, filed on, and maxed out for the templates in every single area. You have to try to preserve that until the race starts. You definitely won’t spend as much time most likely on your back-up car that you would on your primary car because there really is only four races and there is only so much time and you have to prioritize things. You can help control that by not getting your back-up car out of the trailer by not practicing. There is really no reason to practice. We have all most done this a fair amount and you want to make sure you don’t have any problems and no vibrations and things like that. That is really all you need to do.”

YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN GOOD AT PLATE TRACKS. RCR (RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING) HAS ALWAYS MADE IT A POINT TO BE ESPECIALLY GOOD AT PLATE TRACKS. THIS HAS BEEN IN SOME WAYS A DIFFICULT YEAR FOR YOU. DO YOU LOOK AT THIS RACE AND THIS TRACK AS MAYBE AN EQUALIZER? “Obviously the year has not gone as it has needed to go. It’s been one of those years where it’s just been, as an organization haven’t done a very good job of having cars that are fast enough to come to the race track and compete like we want to compete. We’ve definitely not been where we needed to be, but we have got ourselves into the Chase. We’ve got some decent finishes and you have to have something change momentum wise to get where we need to be and where we want to be need to start this week. We haven’t been able to do that all year. Every time you think you have something going right it kind of seems you have something else go wrong. You just keep battling through it. You can blame it on luck but it’s really not luck’s fault we haven’t had the cars that are fast enough to run on the race track and compete like we need to. You’ve just got to keep at it.”

COULD SOMEONE LOOKING AT THE WAY YOU RUN TALLADEGA DIFFERENTLY RATHER THAN THE TRADITIONAL WAY PUSH EVERYONE ELSE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT? “Well that is how tandem racing started. It just took the first guy to be brave enough to just hold the pedal down all the way through the corners to keep pushing on the guy in front of him. That is really how the tandem racing started. The thing that triggered all that stuff was repaving the race tracks. They are so smooth and the reason that we couldn’t do that before is the tracks were rough, the bumpers didn’t line up as good, but if the tracks were this smooth I believe it would have happened years ago. You can change it to a certain extent but it is what it is really. For us we are kind of in a box where we have to battle the heating issues of the car. I don’t think anybody really likes to mandate how the race is dictated with the heating of the engine and cooling of the engine basically have a box that you are in with a $100,000 piece. That is dictated in the rules. For us it’s not as good as some of the Ford’s and some and some of the things so you have to manage your engine throughout the first three quarters of the race and a lot of times that means you don’t want to get up in the pack and it’s not because we don’t want to race, it’s because our engines won’t run cool enough to stay up in the pack. It’s like the restrictor plates it used to be the ongoing dilemma of why do we run restrictor plates. Now it’s why do we restrict it with something that is so valuable and so easy to screw up and take that chance. I don’t see anybody else knocking on the door with a better idea so it’s kind of what we have right now. That has definitely made the racing back to the pack racing and the things that everybody wanted to accomplish. I think as a group everybody wanted to accomplish that there is just no other way to make it better right now.”

IF SOMEBODY CHANGES THE PACE WILL IT CHANGE OTHER PEOPLES PLANS? “This is kind of like a road race you go in and you have your plan and you make it happen. Whether it is right or wrong it’s kind of like the race itself it’s a gamble.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS IF NASCAR WERE TO ESTABLISH SOME SORT OF KNOCK OUT FORMAT WITHIN THE CHASE MOVING FORWARD AT SOME POINT? “I think the Chase has added a lot to it. I just don’t think it is baseball or football. I think this is a whole different atmosphere and there is a points system involved and all the other sports there is not a points system involved. All the other sports there is not a points system involved. There is really if you go out and win the last five races you can make up a lot of points so if you are eliminated through that process I think you could eliminate some drama in itself. There are a million different ways to argue that. I think it was just as good without the Chase. I think there was one bad year there. That is an ongoing debate. I like the Chase. I think it’s added to it, but you’ve had some great point’s battles without it too. You’ve got two in the other series without a Chase. In the end if you want it to be something that you can make up then it’s probably not the right place to be because you can’t make this stuff up it just happens.”

WHEN YOU SHOW UP ON SUNDAY DO YOU COME IN WITH YOU AND YOUR RCR TEAMMATES HAVING A STRATEGY IN TERMS OF FRONT, BACK WHERE YOU WANT TO BE OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT YOU JUST HAVE TO SEE HOW THE RACE EVOLVES AND FIGURE IT OUT ON THE TRACK? “A lot of times you definitely evolve with the race. I haven’t talked to the other two teams, but I know from our stand point we kind of know where we stand on what we need to do to preserve the motor to make sure that we get to a certain point of the race and then do what you want to do the whole race for the last quarter of it. That is the strategy that the No. 29 team will take and not because we want to that is just the hand that is dealt towards us. Obviously the cool temperatures are going to help everybody, but it’s still just a problem that we have that is a little bit worse than some of the other makes.”

HAVE YOU GUYS ALREADY DISCUSSED WHAT YOU WANT TO DO FOR 2013 AS FAR AS CREW CHIEFS GO? WILL GIL (MARTIN) CONTINUE ON AS YOUR CREW CHIEF NEXT SEASON? “As far as I know that situation is all settled for next year. I hadn’t heard any different. As far as I’m concerned the team is set and going forward. We have a lot bigger issues to work on than crew chiefs. You can throw crew chiefs at it all day long but we need to work on things in house.”

CAN YOU GIVE US DETAILS ON WHAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON? “I don’t have enough time.”

YOUR COMPETITION DIRECTOR IS THERE GOING TO BE A NEW COMPETITION DIRECTOR IS THAT WHERE THE START YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE SYSTEM IS THAT WHERE IT STARTS UP THERE? IS THAT THE KEY PIECE RIGHT NOW? “I think that definitely would be the key piece to start at. I think Richard (Childress) would have a lot more answers on these things than I would. I know he has been working hard to fix a lot of things. A lot of it comes with that piece falling into place and structure. When you don’t have that guy in there it just didn’t pan out the way that we all thought it would pan out and mesh together and really have things run like they needed to. It just kind of became a little bit more disruptive than I think everybody had anticipated. Richard and those guys are working hard on putting back structure and pieces in places and trying to get everything where it needs to be. It’s a big machine. When you get just from the small team that we had with the Trucks and the Nationwide when something goes sideways it definitely takes a while to get it back to where it needs to be. Sometimes it’s hard to find the problem and when you are looking for people of that magnitude there is not a lot of them in the garage. I think it’s just something to where the wheel is really big and sometimes when you get to the top of that wheel to the bottom it’s hard to get it back going again. He’s definitely working hard to make all of that happen.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Interview
Tags chevrolet, childress, harvick, talladega

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